Meditation—good for the mind, body & spirit

Posted On April 6, 2019

Many search for the key to unlock inner peace, wholeness, and balance. We look for a way to quiet the mind and re-ground ourselves.

Maybe science has one answer to the question, “How do I find inner peace?”

Herbert Benson, MD, well known for three decades of research into the health effects of meditation, is the founder of the Mind/Body Institute at Harvard Medical School’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

He concludes the relaxation response from meditation slows our metabolism, lowers blood pressure, and improves heart rate, breathing, and brain waves. Tension and tightness seep from muscles as the body receives the message to relax.

Studies of Buddhist monks who meditate daily have shown that meditation produces long-lasting changes in the brain and increases attention span, memory, learning, and the ability to focus and live in the present moment.

Is science correct? Could it be that simple?  Is daily meditation the key that unlocks the mind, body, and spirit connection to inner peace?

Jesus seemed to think so.

When the apostles asked him to teach them how to pray, Jesus said, “Go into your inner room, shut your door, and pray to your Father, who is unseen. And your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matt 6:6).

Jesus pointed to the fact that sitting in quiet meditation with God daily rewards us with not only the scientific benefits of meditation, but also deepens our relationship with God as we receive affirmation and gentle guidance from the Creator.

Christ lived the words he preached. He sat alone with his Father daily. There he gained direction and understanding from God. And when the demands of healing and preaching overwhelmed him, he stole away into the quiet to recharge and reconnect.

 Thomas Merton and Father Thomas Keating made it their life-long mission to teach meditation/contemplation because they believed this daily practice instills inner peace and wholeness. However, the Western world threw the practice out with the Enlightenment.

Perhaps the Holy Spirit is up to something now—inviting us to return to the ancient practice of meditation to breathe new life into our yearning hearts.

It’s all about relationship.

There are no right or wrong ways to practice meditation/contemplation. It’s simply spending alone time with God in a quiet space.

Through regular meditation our relationship with the Creator grows. We discover how Infinite Love is moving in our lives, and how we respond to that movement. As Richard Hauser, SJ, wrote, we learn how to live our lives, Moving in the Spirit.

My wife teases she’ll write on my tombstone, “Quiet Time Solves Everything.” I’d high-five her if she did, because I’ve come to believe that daily meditation—what I call Quiet Time—is where we find ourselves in God—where we learn to live and love. It’s a safe-space of comfort and guidance  where we go to be alone with the Source of our Being.  I don’t understand why or how it works. But Jesus did, and invites us to try it.

I’ve created a You Tube Website with several short meditation videos. Take a peek at them to jumpstart your meditation practice. The Pray as You Go website is also a great tool for launching daily meditation.

As you enter your Quiet Time, consider what Mother Teresa said about her meditation practice, “I look at God. God looks at me. And we are very happen.”

—brian j plachta

Written by Brian J. Plachta

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